Why I Love to Run in Spring (…And Why I Make a Fool of Myself Doing It)

Ah, springtime. Hands down, it is my second-favourite time of year (close on the heels of autumn, which is my absolute favourite). Springtime is the time of year where mother nature is waking up again, and filling the air with her perfume. Spring is when the trees are alive with the scent of lilac and cherry blossom and magnolia. It’s when gardens are bright with tulips and impatiens and all manner of fragrant annuals. It’s the time of year when, no matter where you go, you’ve got pretty good odds of being greeted by the scent of fresh-cut grass.

For me, springtime is a time of dreaming, where anything is possible. It is the season when we open up our unheated pool for the kids, and then spend a few more weeks staring longingly out the window while we wait for the air temperature to make it swimmable. It’s the time of year that I dream of which tomatoes I’m going to plant, and what type of cucumbers I’m going to plant, and how I’m going to install a vertical garden to grow squash and beans… and I truly believe it will happen until week after week passes and I’ve given up on the idea because there are too many weeds to pull in my neglected vegetable bed. Springtime is the season where, no matter how crisp the air around me is, I’ll put on shorts and a tee-shirt and shiver happily all day just because there is a sliver of bright sun on the lawn when I wake up.

Yes, springtime. The time of year where, regardless of whether or not I actually follow through or even really believe I will, I get to dream of all the things I’m going to do with my summer.

There is one thing I can say with absolute truth that I do follow through on every year: springtime is the season when I get back outside and go running. Running is something I keep up all year round in varying degrees, but spring renews my zest for it. After a frigid, (mostly) unpleasant winter of slogging out a half hour on the treadmill in the garage, or having to bundle up and brave the Canadian cold on the salt-stained roads, spring is where the temperatures are like Baby Bear for this Goldilocks: Juuuuuust right

(To be clear about what I mean about running… it’s more like “running.” I jog. I trot. I stop at intervals and walk. But I’m outside and moving at a leisurely pace that keeps me fit-ish.)

Running also clears my mind. When I’ve spent too much time at my keyboard, and my fingers are cramping and my mind is cramping and my butt is cramping (yes, it’s a real thing!), it gets me outside to stretch it all out. For 52 blissful minutes over six blissful kilometres, I can leave it all behind and just zone out. Or, if I don’t need to clear my mind, running is the perfect activity to focus my mind. Running is when I work out certain plot points that I’m stuck on in my in-progress manuscript. It’s when I define a plot point for a work-in-progress I haven’t yet started. It’s when I pull together and work through plot points for stories that may never end up being works-in-progress at all.

It sounds idyllic, right? Well, here’s the catch. To be a runner like me, you need to be a special kind of person. Not driven, not ultra-fit, not passionate—oblivious. The kind of person who doesn’t give a damn about what people thinks about her. Because while I’ve told you that springtime is my favourite time to run, and dream and take in the scents, here’s what I haven’t told you:

Doing all three things together makes me look like an absolute fool! Deranged, moronic, ridiculous and more. While I’m running, I’m off in la la land, singing along to my eclectic, mostly-nineties playlist and dreaming absentmindedly. My nose is in the air and I’m taking massive sniffs of every tree and cut lawn and flowering bush I pass. You know how dogs look when they’re having fun, and they have no idea what shame or propriety or dignity is?

That’s me. When I run. Outside. In Springtime.

But I don’t care. What’s more, I LOVE it! Let the onlookers laugh. Point. Stare. It’s my time. My favourite time. And I’ll spend it my way, trotting along, nose in the air, dreaming my springtime dreams.

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